When little kids say what they want to be when they grow up, visions of star athletes, astronauts and pop singers usually flood their heads. Aspiring writers appreciate the imagination of these dreams, but they don’t want to dunk, sing or become an astronaut to live out their dreams. All they need is a pen and paper (or keyboard and computer). If they weren’t professionals, most writers would express their thoughts on paper, whether in a journal, blog or website. Luckily, writers have many avenues to make money doing what they love. Before you apply for a business credit card to support yourself, review these promising opportunities in professional writing.
Trying to make money writing feels as difficult as making it to the NBA, flying to the moon, or composing a hit song, but the reward is the chance to satisfy your curious spirit daily.
Freelance — The Tried and True Model
Few businesses need a fresh copy continuously. When they do need a writer to draft a website introduction, statement of purpose or any other piece of content, they’re reluctant to hire a full-time writer. That’s where freelancers enter. These writing vagabonds jump from job to job describing and depicting topics as needed. Young writers need not look far for their first freelance opportunities. Freeswitch.com is one of many forums that connect freelance writers with paying customers. Young writers unable to earn paying jobs can write for free to build their portfolios. Published clips are the key to a paying writing career.
Blogs — A Long, Rewarding Path
I know. I know. Everyone has a blog. Not everyone has the discipline, writing chops and stamina to maintain a blog that turns a profit. It may not put money in your pocket right away, but over time, blogs can become lucrative properties. Examples include Daringfireball.net, a tech blog, Incomediary.com, a financial advice blog and Caradvice.co.au, an auto blog. The common thread? A niche topic. General interest blogs are a dime a dozen. Tailored-specific blogs attract loyal followers. Visit Adwords.com to learn how you can turn traffic into income.
Even if, your blog doesn’t turn a profit, it can still benefit your writing career. A blog raises your profile as a writer and boosts your portfolio for freelance gigs. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be one of the lucky few who is able to blog professionally.
SEO Writing — The New Frontier
While print media are going the way of the buffalo, a new trend demand for content has emerged. Unique copy is a powerful tool to boost keyword rankings on Google and other search engines. Businesses are willing to pay top dollar to get on the front page of Google, so new writing jobs have emerged. A search for "SEO (search engine optimization) writer" on Simplyhired.com returns more than 2,000 positions nationwide. You may not be writing the next great American novel, but you'll earn a paycheck improving your craft.
Self-Publishing–Why Not You?
Writers need an independent attitude to stand out. Self-publishing provides total independence and removes costly middleman. Ebooks level the playing field for aspiring authors. Writers used to need distribution companies, and mass-production printers to publish. Now, authors can write, format, distribute and advertise their own work for little or no cost. Amazon offers direct publishers to Kindle devices for free. The Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy was originally self-published, according to Cnet.com. Self-publishing software removes the roadblocks that have kept you from following your dream.
If you’re feeling discouraged to make money as a writer, take heart. The industry may be changing, but the demand for quality writers isn’t going away anytime soon.
Photo by Flickr user rmarshall
Please note that Andrew Zimmerman is a guest and I haven’t used any of the sites he mentioned, so I don’t know how good they are.